April 20, 2024


Classroom at the Viaró school, in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) in an image from a promotional video of the center.
Classroom at the Viaró school, in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) in an image from a promotional video of the center.THE COUNTRY

The Department of Education will continue to finance schools linked to Opus Dei, which separate boys and girls, for longer than expected. With the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court that endorses the withdrawal of the concert from these types of centers, the Minister of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, announced a few days ago that he will appeal the financing of only two schools, while in four more he will have to wait to the administrative renewal of the concerts, which will take place in 2026.

“We will stop funding schools that separate boys and girls.” It is about the headline that the ERC governments launched years ago, but that due to administrative or judicial obstacles have not been carried out. The last of the attempts was last year, taking advantage of the fact that secondary school concerts were being renewed and that state regulations, Lomloe, supported for the first time the withdrawal of funding from these centers.

So, most schools opted to go to a mixed model to maintain the concert. Specifically, there were eight: Canigó (Barcelona), Bell-lloc del Pla (Girona), Les Alzines (Girona), Pineda and Xaloc (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat), Institució Tarragona (Reus), La Vall (Sabadell) and La Farga (Sant Cugat del Valles). Two others, Viaró (Sant Cugat) and Camp Joliu (Tarragona), refused and, at first, lost the concert. But Opus has other schools in Catalonia ―Institució Lleida, Institució Igualada and Airina (Terrassa)―, which several courses ago already decided to mix students due to the drop in enrollment, with which they ran the risk of losing the concert.

But despite having agreed to modify their model, the schools filed an appeal before the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) and requested precautionary measures to continue with differentiated education, which the judge granted, assuring that the right of the girls was being violated. families to choose the type of education. The centers that initially lost the concert -Viaró and Camp Joliu- also appealed, which also obtained precautionary measures in which the judge forced them to return the financing due to the economic difficulties that families could have if they had to assume the costs as a private school.

The Generalitat presented its allegations, which were then dismissed. But a few weeks ago, the Generalitat received unexpected support with the Constitutional ruling, as a result of appeals presented by PP and Vox, which endorses the part of the Lomloe regarding the withdrawal of concerts from centers that segregate by sex. On May 3, Cambray announced in Parliament that, as a result of this sentence, it will again appeal the precautionary measures, but only those that have the Viaró and Camp Joliu schools. As for the rest, he added: “We will stop funding as the concerts have to be renewed.” That is, in 2026, when the confirmation of the financing of infant, primary and secondary coincides.

At the gates of the municipal elections and in a triumphalist and very prepared speech – he answered a question from his own group – Cambray assured that his party has spent years fighting for the suppression of concerts in Opus schools. “We have been behind for 20 years and every time ERC has been at the forefront of Education it has pursued it. It is a legislative fight – we include it in Lomloe – and a legal fight ”, he added. And he concluded epically: “We are facing the end of the school of other times, of the school in black and white.”

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For its part, the differentiated sector is calm but cautious. Don’t worry because, for now, the 10 schools with precautionary measures will maintain the separation of boys and girls next year. The centers have closed the registration with this option and until now the courts have not been in favor of modifying the rules of the game once the families have enrolled with certain conditions.

And cautious because they know that this may come to an end in the medium term. The schools are still waiting for the courts that granted them the precautionary measures to resolve the merits of their appeals, with the risk that this sentence will be unfavorable to them due to the validity of the Lomloe. Although they also remember that contentious appeals take time to be resolved. If there are no judicial pronouncements before 2026, the schools will once again face the same dichotomy: either they go to mixed education or they lose funding – some 36 million, according to the latest data offered by Cambray. It remains to be seen then if they will all repeat last year’s decision and how many will lose the concert.

In any case, the sector remembers that the change is not immediate and that the first courses of each stage (infant, primary and secondary) will begin to be opened to boys and girls, so that several years will have to pass before the mixed education. It will also remain to be seen if in 2026 the Lomloe is still in force or there is a new regulation that does allow these concerts.

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